Today on Summit Life, a challenging reminder from Pastor JD Greer. 75% of discipleship is informal. It's just teaching people to follow Jesus like you follow Jesus, and Jesus has promised to help you do that.
Follow me, he says, and I will make you a fisher of men, just like he had been a fisher of men. This is an essential part of being a disciple. In fact, Jesus says if this is not a part of what you do, then you're not really my disciple. Welcome back to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer.
As always, I'm your host, Molly Bitovitch. You know, if you were to ask a hundred people on the street what it means to be a Christian, you'd probably get a hundred different responses. Some think it means that you come from a Christian family.
Others think it means you go to church, and still others just think that it means you believe in God or you act nice and help people across the street. Today, Pastor JD brings clarity to the question and defines what it truly means to be a follower of Christ. It's the final message in our teaching series called, In Earth As It Is In Heaven, and Pastor JD titled this message, Disciple. So I want to go back and try to get into what's a disciple actually was. And in Matthew chapter 4, we have the calling of the first disciples. And in that, you'll get a glimpse of what a disciple was and how Christians saw themselves. Okay, Matthew chapter 4, let's begin in verse 18. While walking by the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. Verse 19, and he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Verse 20, immediately, immediate obedience, they left their nets and they followed him. When I heard that story as a kid, it never really made sense to me. Like why, you know, it was a Jedi mind trick. How did he just convince these guys to come and follow him? I'm going to take just a couple of minutes and try to fill in some of the things happening historically around this that will make that passage of scripture make a lot more sense. All right, here we go.
You ready? All Hebrew boys in those days went to what they called Torah school. The boys who remained in a Torah school would study on until about age 17. And if you wanted to go on with your religious studies after that, then you had to find yourself a rabbi, a rabbi that you admired and applied to become that rabbi's talmid. Rabbi just means teacher, talmid means disciple. It's the Hebrew word for disciple. You see, the rabbis were able to be really selective because in those days, becoming a religious ruler was the best of all possible jobs.
All that to say, this was a really exclusive club that was pretty hard to get into. Now back to Matthew chapter four, here comes Jesus who knows the Torah so well that we find him at age 12 in the temple correcting the religious rulers. Jesus, this new rabbi chooses Simon Peter and Andrew who are fishermen. So the point is, of course they wanted to follow him. Guys without much potential or personal power, that he chose them to follow him, become like him, to know God like he knew God, to do what he did and be filled with his power.
A few things we notice about being a disciple right there from Matthew chapter four if you're taking notes. Number one, he doesn't choose the best, he chooses the willing. You understand that when you face the things that God has told you to face, he didn't choose you because you were awesome. He wanted to make you awesome because he chose you.
Your awesomeness was not going to come from your abilities, your awesomeness was going to come from his power in you. Number one, he chose, didn't choose the best, he chose the willing. Number two, God chose us, not we him. We see from there that he chose us, not we him. Like I explained, the normal way all this went down is that if you were in the best of your class, then you applied to a rabbi and if he liked what he saw, he'd choose you back. Now what we know is that that became a great source of confidence to these talmadine because, you know, when everything else was going against them, they kind of were like, yeah, but my rabbi who I respect, he chose me.
He must have seen something in me. One of the things you notice if you read the New Testament is how many times and how often Jesus and the apostles bring up this concept that he chose us as a means of instilling confidence. You'll see this in Ephesians. Paul is going to develop this theme that you didn't choose God, he chose you.
And Paul is not just, he's not trying to unravel the mysteries of predestination to you. What he's trying to say to the Ephesians and to you is, in the midst of a world where you feel overwhelmed by opposition, you can be confident that if God chose you, that God's going to see it through. And it doesn't matter what the size of the obstacles are in front of you, it matters the size of the God behind you. And that God is greater than those, greater is he that is in you. So stop worrying about the obstacles and start focusing on God.
That's the whole point of choosing. Now watch, watch, watch. Here's what Jesus, I'll give you his words. Here's what he says to his disciples later.
You didn't choose me, I chose you. And I point to you that you might go and bear fruit. Bear fruit means you're going to win other people to Jesus and your fruit will last.
It's not just going to be a temporary thing. It's going to be permanent fruit, real fruit, eternal fruit. So that whatever you ask in my name, the father will give you. When Jesus says you didn't choose me, but I chose you. His main point is not, hey guys, I'm a Calvinist.
His main point in saying that is, I chose you and what I have planned for you and purpose for you, I'm going to pursue in you and I'm not going to let it drop. And so when you lack confidence in yourself, you should put confidence in my purposes in you, because even if you falter, they will never fail. You see, here's where our confidence fails.
Is it not? A lot of times we talk about we lost our confidence in Jesus, but it's really not our confidence in Jesus that we lost. What we lost was our confidence that Jesus would do through us what he said he would do.
Isn't that right? A good example of this, Matthew 14, just a few chapters after this, you got Peter who is, you know, they're in the midst of the storm and they think they're going to sink and here comes Jesus walking on the water. And Peter is like, hey, Jesus, is that you? If it's you, why don't you invite me to come out and join you on the water? And Jesus says, it is I, so come on out. So Peter hops out of the boat. Boom. He's walking on water.
Everything's awesome. Peter takes a few steps, looks at the waves around him and remember what he does? He panics. He starts to sink. And we always say, oh, see, he lost confidence in Jesus. Is that really true?
Nope. He's still fully confident in Jesus because Jesus is doing just fine up there on the water. What he lost confidence in was not Jesus's ability to walk on the water. He lost confidence in Jesus's ability to make him walk on the water. Right?
You see the difference? Where your confidence usually falters is not in the character of Jesus. It's in the promise of Jesus to do through you what Jesus said he would do. You're fully convinced that if Jesus was married to your spouse, he'd be doing an awesome job.
Right? But what you're not confident of is that Jesus can use you to become the kind of husband and wife that you're supposed to be. You're confident that if Jesus were raising your kids, he'd be doing a great job. That's not what he promised. He promised he'd do it through you. You're confident that if Jesus were at your workplace, he'd be doing a great job being a witness.
That's not what he promised. But what he did promise is that he would do these things through you. And when your confidence falters, when life smacks you down, when you fail, when you feel like you are up against insurmountable obstacles in your marriage with your kids and your career and your ministry, what you need to remember is faithful is he who called you who also will do it. That he that began a good work, Philippians 1 six in you, will continue it and never let it go all the way till he finished it in the day of Jesus Christ.
That greater is he that is in you, that he that is in the world, that what God has purposed, he will bring to pass. I am convinced, Paul says, I know who I have believed in. And I'm persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed to him against that day. When I am faithless, he will be faithful.
He cannot deny himself. When I am unable, he is able. Isaiah 46 11, what I have said, Jesus says that I will bring about what I have planned that I will do. When Jesus chose you, he had a plan. He had a plan for your marriage. He had a plan for your family. He had a plan to use you to bring forth fruit and not a bit of it dependent on the amount of ability you brought to the conversation.
What it depended on was his ability to do it through you. And you got to put your confidence in that. Whenever I have somebody at the church come up to me at the end of a service, and this happens a good amount because the nature of our church that tells me that they're having to move away for a job. And they have this look of fear in their eyes because they're like, this church has meant so much to me and God's done so much in my life that my job has transferred me. And I don't know what church to go to.
I don't have my support group and my friends. Invariably, every single time I quote to them Ephesians 2 10. Ephesians 2 10 says that God has preordained, predestined, good works for you to go and walk in. Which means that God went ahead like he was your travel secretary and he went ahead to the place that you were going and he preordained good works for you to walk in. In other words, he set the support group you needed. He picked out the friends. He made sure that everything you needed to overcome temptation and grow with him. He made sure it was already in place. Your job is not to go there and try to figure out what those things are.
Your job is to go there and look to the Lord Jesus Christ to lead you into the things he has already purposed and planned for you. He said it. He's going to do it. You can trust in him. All right, so that was the second. Here's the third thing.
Our primary call we see is to be with him. Notice exactly what he said. Follow me. By the way, in Aramaic, lechacharai. That's how you translate that. Isn't that awesome? Doesn't that sound like just manly? It's not accept Jesus or making your best friend. It's lechacharai.
Follow me. I just, I love that. He didn't tell them where they're going. He didn't tell them what assignment he had for them. Because his primary call on you is not to do something. It is to become like him. And to become like him, you got to know him. And to know him, you got to spend time with him.
And to spend time with him means that you soak in every single word that comes out of his mouth. I don't have a long time to spend on this one, but I will just tell you at the Summit Church, we offer so many outlets for you to take advantage of this. Weekly messages, small groups, special studies that we do. And all I'll say is if you're really serious about being his disciple, then you're going to begin to take advantage of a lot of these. And I don't mean just coming to hear me teach once a week. You're going to be getting into the Word every single day on your own. You're going to be memorizing Scripture. You're going to be reading books about the Bible. You're going to be listening to sermons on podcasts or on the radio. You're going to saturate yourself in the Word. Do you want the dust of your rabbi to be all over you? Then you're going to have to have his Word saturating you inside of you until it dominates all your thinking and all your behavior. Until you think it and you talk it and you quote it. And as we often say, when life cuts you, you just bleed God's Word. Because listen, you cannot know Jesus any more than you know his Word. Do you want the dust of your rabbi all over you? Then learn his Word. And you've got to be with him. You're listening to Summit Life with J.D.
Greer. We hope you've enjoyed this short teaching series called In Earth As It Is In Heaven, and that it's been an encouragement in your daily walk with God. Before we head to the finish line, I wanted to remind you about a resource that can also help you stay connected to God's Word throughout the week. Our daily email devotionals written by Pastor J.D.
offer insightful reflections on the Bible and practical applications for your life. Each day's devotional corresponds to our current teaching series here on the program as well, so you can stay plugged into the themes and ideas that we explore here, even if you miss a day. And best of all, it's completely free thanks to our gospel partners.
To sign up, simply visit jdgreer.com slash resources and enter your email address to begin receiving them right away. We are so grateful for the financial support that makes this resource and the rest of Summit Life possible. It's because of friends like you that we are able to proclaim the gospel each day to a dying world. Now let's return for the final moments of this teaching series. Once again, here's Pastor J.D. Number four, to follow him, we see you had to leave it all.
Immediately it says they left their boat and their father. Why do you think the author picked those two things and the highlight of those? Well, because those represent the two most significant things in our lives, right?
Boat would mean your career. It's what you depend on for to take care of yourself. Your father, that would be your most significant relationship. And Jesus says to follow me, I got to take precedence over both of those things. Now, let me be real with you. Most of you, for you to follow Jesus, you're not actually going to lose your father and mother.
And some of you will. That we have a girl in our church right now, right now, who a couple of years ago, some missionaries from the Summit Church in the Middle East led her to faith in Christ. Baptized her into the Summit Church over there in the Middle East. All right, she was in the Middle East there. Her parents found out about it, demanded that she renounce her faith. She said, I can't.
I'm convinced that Jesus Christ is who he says he is. They said, if you don't renounce your faith, we're going to renounce you. They locked her in a room. She said, she tells a story that she overheard them, her father and her brother talking that night about killing her. She knew that they were serious.
This was not a joke. Well, that night, the middle of the night, they had an emergency in their family. Her sister-in-law went into labor prematurely. So they all rushed out of the hospital, left her by herself, locked in a room. She knew this was her moment. If she was going to get out, this was going to be it. So she broke out, went to this missionary's house and said, you got to get me out of here because they're going to kill me. Well, I'll make a long story short, over the period of a year or so, she made her way here.
I met her for the first time last week here at our church, where she is now taking up residence and applying as a refugee here in our community. Now, listen, most of you aren't going to have that experience. For those of you that do, it's a bitter experience, but we know that Jesus is sweeter. Most of you aren't going to be asked to leave your job to follow Jesus. Some of you, maybe Jesus may lead you to transfer your job from here to one of these places we're planting a church.
That may happen. A few of you may be asked to quit your job altogether to become a full-time missionary. That will happen with a few of you, but for many of you, it's not going to be that dramatic. But you are going to have moments in your life where you have to decide what holds greater sway over your life. For example, college students, your parent, God's going to lead you to take a summer and go overseas admission or after you graduate to go live with one of our church plants and you're going to tell your parents and they're going to say, I forbid it. And you're going to have to decide in that moment who has greater sway over your life, your mom and dad who gave birth to you or Jesus who created you and died for you.
High school students, you're going to be the only one. Some of you who chooses to follow Jesus out of your set of friends and you're going to get labeled that religious chick or the virgin or something else like that and you're going to have to decide if you're going to sit back and be intimidated or if Jesus has a larger presence in your life than those friends do. Some of you in business, you're going to face the temptation to cut some corners, which I mean everybody else in your field does, but you're going to have to decide if you're going to be patient and do things God's way.
For some of you, it's simply what you do with your income. You know, scripture teaches in unequivocal terms that you give your first and your best back to Jesus when you're his follower, which usually for Christians starts with about 10%. That is the area where I see most Christians demonstrate that they've never really become a disciple of Jesus because they just won't obey God here.
They don't let Jesus have greater sway over that than their boat does. You see, to follow Jesus means you subject everything in your life to his lordship. You forsake all that he has forbidden and you pursue all that he has prescribed unconditionally.
Number five, last one. In here, we see that he commands us to reproduce spiritually. We see that to be a disciple, he commands us to reproduce spiritually. Verse 19, follow me, he says, and I will make you a fisher of men, just like he had been a fisher of men.
His followers also would become fisher of men. This is an essential part of being a disciple. It's not something that a few of us do. It is something according to Jesus that all of us do. In fact, Jesus says, if this is not a part of what you do, then you're not really my disciple. Then you think, well, I know you pastor, you like to over speak like that and say dramatic things. All right, I'll call your bluff.
Here we go. John 15, eight, by this is my father glorified that you bear much fruits, watch this, and so prove to me my disciples. How are you going to prove you're his disciple? You're going to bear fruit spiritually. You're going to reproduce spiritually, which means that if you are really his disciple, this is going to be a part of your life. And if you're not reproducing spiritually, you have good reason to question whether or not you are actually a disciple at all. Summit Church, the great commission that Jesus gave to us was this. Matthew 28, 19 is the last thing he said before he ascended into heaven. Go into all the world and make disciples. There's a reason I put that in all caps. I'll tell you in a minute. Baptizing them in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I've commanded you.
This is another nerd moment. Go baptize and teach in Greek are all participles. There's only one verb in that sentence and it's make disciples, which means if you're reading it in Greek, that all these things kind of come from this thing, which means the center of all the going, the baptizing, and the teaching, the center is making disciples, which means that in everything else that we do as a church and everything we do as a Christian, the core of what we do is the one verb he gave us, which is to make disciples. Yes, we have a lot of ministries at this church. We got a lot of ministries, but everything that we do in ministry grows out of the call to make disciples.
All these ministries, this is the core of all of it. Yes, we love to show kindness and to meet needs wherever we see them. We want to help the homeless, the orphan, the underprivileged, the unwed mother, but the core of all that as we help them is teaching them about the salvation of Jesus.
Listen, some of you, let me talk specifically to our college students. Some of you are moved by the needs of the world, and that's awesome. You're moved by the needs of people all around you. The greatest need in the world is the need for people to hear about the salvation of Jesus. Some of you are moved by suffering.
You're moved by the suffering of the refugee and the plight of people all over the world, and that's awesome. The greatest of all suffering is eternal suffering, which people who are outside of Jesus experience, which means, yes, give your life to meet needs. Give your life to relieve suffering, but as a disciple of Jesus, know that the greatest needs you can meet and the greatest suffering that you can relieve is the need of people to hear about Jesus and to experience the salvation of Jesus. So in all that you do, make sure the controlling verb is making disciples. You see, Jesus summarized his ministry in Luke 19 by saying, the son of man, me, have you come to seek and save the lost? Doesn't that mean that if we are his disciples, that's how you would summarize our lives too? JD is here to seek and save the lost?
If the dust of my rabbi is all over me, isn't that what my life will look like? This is the primary thing we do and it involves every single believer. It's not just something we do in a few departments in the church. It's something that each of you as followers of Jesus do. He has called and appointed you, individually you, he's called you to go and bring forth fruit. Robert Coleman, who wrote a book called The Master Plan of Evangelism, which is one of the most important books that I read. It was in college and it has, it's one of those books that probably in the top five of those that formed how I understood ministry and following Jesus.
I remember something he said there. When will the church learn this lesson? Preaching to the masses.
What we do each weekend, right? Preaching to the masses, although necessary, will never suffice in the work of preparing leaders for evangelism. Just means telling other people about Jesus. Nor can occasional prayer meetings and training classes for Christian workers do this job.
Individual women and men are God's method. God's plan for the great commission for discipleship is not something. His plan for the triangle is not Christmas at DPAC.
I hate to break it to you. His plan for the triangle is not this pulpit getting louder and louder. His plan for the triangle is not even our Easter service. His plan for the triangle are individual men and women. His plan is not something, it is someone.
It's you. You are God's method. You are God's method. We want to see you become, by God's grace, a reproducing Christian this year.
Now don't let this intimidate you. Disciple making is simply teaching somebody else to follow Jesus like you follow Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes it means studying the Bible together, but even more than that, it's simply opening up your life to let other people in. I love how our college ministry always says that 75% of discipleship is informal.
It's just teaching people to follow Jesus like you follow Jesus. And Jesus has promised to help you do that. You say, well, what do I do? What are you asking me to do exactly?
I'll make this as practical as I can. I'll give you a few things I'm asking you to do. First of all, you need to get engaged in the church. And the best means that we have to do that is through a small group. Small groups of the small organizing units of the summit church where we execute all the values and the mission of the church. It all happens on the small group level.
And so the moment that you move from spectator to disciple for a lot of you is going to be the moment that you get involved in a small group because that's where we're going to begin to live this out and put it into practice. Maybe most importantly, what I want you to walk away from here with is I want you to identify, I want you to identify today your one. Your one.
Who is your one? I'm going to challenge you to have one person this year that, with the help of God, you're going to introduce to faith in Jesus Christ. Now, I know you can't control the outcome, so I'm not asking you to put it on you, but I'm saying, will you commit to God and say, God, will you show me one person this year that I am supposed to reproduce myself in spiritually?
Summit, listen, what would the effect be if 10,000 people who call themselves Christians at our church took this seriously? Who's the one person you are going to introduce to the gospel this next year? No matter who you picked, we've got some resources on our website that can help you in that mission.
Find them online at jdgrier.com. You're listening to Summit Life with Pastor JD Greer. Pastor JD and I recently sat down to talk about how shareable this month's teaching has been here on Summit Life. Every day is a message of hope and encouragement that I feel like passing on to someone else.
And here's what he had to say about it. Well, thank you, Molly. I do hope the sermons we share in the program inspire each of us to pass the gospel on to others. I mean, that's kind of the whole point is that we're not just a reservoir that this river of life flows into. We want to continue to be a river, and it flows from us to others. And so what we try to do here at Summit Life, and I'm sure if you've listened to us for a while, you've picked up on this, is we want to set you up for success in a way that enables you to multiply, to share the love and the hope of Christ with others. And so give yourself a chance to be used by God. That is why I am thrilled, Molly, to introduce a fantastic resource that we've put together just for you.
Picture this, okay? A set of Christmas greeting cards that are going to be adorned with inspirational verses on the front, but left blank on the inside for your personal touch. You know, the power of a simple card should never be underestimated. It's one of my family's most important Christmas traditions.
So don't wait. I would invite you to head on over to jdgrier.com, get a sneak peek at what these honestly truly beautiful cards look like, and reserve your set today. We are incredibly grateful for each of you who give. That's why we'd love to send you a set of these Christmas cards as our way to say thank you for your gift of $35 or more to this ministry. To give, you can call us right now at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.
Or you can give anytime online at jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vitovich, and tomorrow we'll start a brand new, never before aired teaching series called Begin Again. It's an exciting day, so don't miss it Tuesday right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
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